DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There is a daunting task ahead for the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) as leaders work to come up with a plan to get tens of thousands of students to school everyday.
Earlier this month, voters decided to dissolve the Dallas County Schools (DCS), the bus agency that previously provided transportation services for more than half-a-dozen North Texas school districts.
A briefing for board members got underway at DISD headquarters just before the lunch hour. While a lot of questions are expected to be asked, there will no action taken since the briefing is just to update trustees on the transition plan and provide options to consider.
Dallas school leaders must decide whether they want to operate their own school bus system in-house or solicit bids from a vendor. The massive undertaking was handed to the district when voters decided that they’d had enough DCS. A number of questionable business decisions and the avalanche of bad publicity that followed had battered the 90-year-old agency.
Delna Bryan, the head of the Dallas branch of the National Education Association, campaigned for keeping DCS and now warns that replacing the services they provided will be a challenge.
“I think we’re going to have to think outside the box… totally, big time, think outside the box. Because from what I understand it costs Dallas ISD for example, only Dallas ISD, $50 million to transport all its students,” she said adding, “For them to put a whole new system together, if they’re going with their own transportation, it might cost them anywhere between $100 and $127 million. Do we have that kind of money? I don’t think so.”
At one point, DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district didn’t particularly want to be in the transportation business but that it was a new task that voters handed them.
More than 56-percent of voters agreed that DCS should be shut down. While the bus service will temporarily remain the same for students, management of the agency will change before it is ultimately dissolved.
DCS provides transportation for the Aledo, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Highland Park, Irving, Lancaster and Richardson Independent School Districts. Just like he DISD, leaders I each of those districts will have to decide if they will manage their own bus service or hire a private company to pick up kids.